A dental appointment cancelled is an opportunity lost.
A cancelled dental appointment is the loss of an opportunity of healing disease in somebody’s mouth.
Even if the appointment is rescheduled to a later date, that disease and infection will be worse at the later date.
There is no benefit for a patient to be cancelling a dental appointment.
It is our duty as health care professionals to do everything possible within our powers to ensure that the patient completes the necessary dental treatment within the time frame that is recommended.
If the patient delays the treatment we have let the patient down by failing to communicate the intended message.
It is our fault that the patient cancels.
They cancel because we have not created in their mind a compelling enough reason for the patient to return.
We have failed to elicit sufficient urgency and concern in the patients’ mind.
This is our fault.
The patient may have left confused or unclear about their next step.
Here’s what needs to happen:
At the completion of each appointment, or at the completion of each phone call to the dental office, the treatment appointed patient must understand the following three things CLEARLY.
If the patient fails to grasp these three things, then there is every likelihood that the patient could cancel their appointment for treatment.
And that is not a good result for the patient.
Because the decay does not disappear on its own. And nor does the periodontal disease disappear for that matter….
The patient must understand exactly what treatment they will be having at their next visit to the Dental Office.
The patient must understand implicitly which teeth are to be treated, what is wrong with them and what that treatment will be.
The patient must understand the recommended time frame or urgency needed for the remaining treatment to be completed.
It is the Dentist’s duty to inform the patient he is seeing when exactly he next wants to that patient to return.
If it is a new patient calling the dental practice, or clerical team taking the incoming call also need to let the patient know of the urgency required to find out EXACTLY what needs to be done next.
The Dentist’s role is to create urgency for the treatment as opposed to creating a *Lack of Urgency* in the Patient’s mind. Creating urgency assists the Front Office team members in securing the next appointment for the Patient.
The patient needs to understand exactly what will happen if the next treatment is not carried out.
The Dentist must inform the patient of the consequences if treatment is not carried out. The patient must understand that taking action is imperative for them. And that delaying action will be harmful to them.
When your patients understand these three clear messages we are telling them then their attendance compliance dramatically increases.
“Entrepreneurs are willing to work an 80 hour work to avoid a 40 hour week”
Sometimes the rest of the world needs to know this.
After all, as a dental practice business owner, when do you really switch off?
After working four or five days a week drilling teeth, or more, you then have to turn around and find time to “run” the business, don’t you?
You know…. you’re expected to do the HR, supervise the payroll, oversee and sometimes invent the marketing, do the business planning, pay the bills, organise the insurances….the list goes on…
And who has the time then for being a dentist?
It would seem that many in society, including some dentists themselves, don’t appreciate the long hours put in by dental practice owners in running a dental practice, on top of all the time spent drilling teeth.
Why would you not want to be remunerated for all of those extra hours of business administration?
Sadly, a lot of dentists discount this time.
Recently in a discussion with employees of a well-known dental association, the time required for this sort of business administration was “brushed aside” by one of the association employees as:
“something the dentist can do on the weekend”
To which I asked:
Because if the dentist did not do it, these duties would be performed by hired help who would and should be remunerated for doing so…. so why not remunerate the dentist?
Interestingly, a lot of corporate roll-up buy-outs engage the selling dentist to continue the administration, without ever remunerating the selling dentist for these ongoing administrations that the business, and the purchaser, still requires.
Sadly, some people within the dental industry brush over the importance of these behind the scenes services provided by the owners that are indeed an integral part of the ongoing success of the dental practice.
The value of these services performed by the owning dentist are continually downplayed by staff, dentists, and also by customers of the business.
A great dental practice just does not happen by accident.
The behind the scenes work done by the owners is often the bricks and mortar foundation that the business of the practice is built upon….and is too often taken for granted.
Success doesn’t happen by magic.
It is the result of particular preparation, planning, and hard work.